While 2012 may unfortunately be remembered for annoyingly catchy pop singles like “Call Me Maybe” and “Gangnam Style,” more dedicated music fans will later recall it as a year where an unparalleled number of talented young artists seemingly emerged from nowhere, and when genres become so intertwined they often became indistinguishable. EDM also quickly rose to the forefront of popular music, going as far as featuring Nero in commercials and putting an animated Skrillex cameo in a Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph. It was very fitting then that I ended 2012 with a perfect mix of veteran artists and up-and-comers who at Triad Dragon’s annual New Year’s Eve event.

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It was a cold December night in Denver this New Year’s, and, being in the center of the main downtown district, the Colorado Convention Center was buzzing. Walking into the concert, we had the pleasure of witnessing a spectacular fireworks show, which paved the way for an unforgettable evening. With so many people attending the event, there was an inevitable line to get in. Thankfully, Triad Dragons set the line up inside so attendees didn’t have to wait in the sub-freezing temperatures (especially the girls who were dressed like it was a summer show at Red Rocks).

We got in about halfway through Wolfgang Gartner‘s set and immediately headed to the Global Dance Arena. We were instantly taken back by the light setup inside. Not only were there impressive visuals on stage to coincide with the music, but there was a giant chandelier in the middle of the dancefloor that lit up in sequence with the music as well. The energy inside the Colorado Convention Center was already incredibly high, and the arena was full of people with their hands in the air, unanimously pulsating to Wolfgang Gartner‘s dance-ready original tracks. The highlight of his set came when he played his collaboration with Skrillex, “The Devil’s Den”. The entire crowd sang along in anticipation of the huge drop, and when it was finally delivered, not a single person remained standing still.

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After Wolfgang’s set finished, we checked out all the vendors who were promoting festivals and selling attire aimed at this demographic. Flosstradamus was up next on the other stage, and what this side of the venue lacked in spectacle, it made up for in raw energy. The electricity in the air was very strong as thousands of people waited for one-half of arguably 2012’s biggest breakout artists to take the stage (Flosstradamus also played a NYE show in Detroit). When he arrived, the cheering in the crowd was deafening as Lana Del Rey‘s seductive acapella vocals rang through the speakers. That soon dropped into “Lana’s Theme” with strobe lights that lit up the room from front to back. Every person there was twerkin’ for the entirety of Flosstradamus’ set, which played out like a best-of trap music.

Floss’ original tracks from X were seamlessly mixed into their most popular remixes such as “Hood Fantasy” and “Original Don,” and with staples in every trap set like “Mercy (RL Grime & Salva Remix). While the left speaker was slightly blown out from Flosstradamus’ intense bass, it didn’t stop the crowd from getting down for an entire hour. I saw very few people leaving the Global Dub Arena until Krewella’s set at 11:00.

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It’s crazy to see how far Krewella, who have become favorites of music blogs and listeners all across the world with their excellent Play Hard EP, has come this year,. Girls and guys alike were singing along to all their hits; Krewella know how to put together a show that ensures the crowd isn’t bored for even a second. The set felt like it blew by in just a few minutes as they played every song I wanted to hear, especially their “Breathe” remix and One Minute.” I found it interesting that the majority of the people there knew every word to every song, even though they were not even the headliner of the night. I can’t imagine how far the Chicago trio are going to go in the next year–make sure to keep an eye on these three.

Krewella finished their set at around 11:58, and the on-stage visuals turned into a giant clock that counted down to 2013. The three expressed their gratitude towards Colorado and how there was nowhere else in the country they’d rather be this New Year’s Eve. As the clock counted down towards midnight, every person chanted along until midnight. Then came the drop of giant balloons and lots of confetti on top of an ecstatic crowd. As I looked around, I saw everything from couples sharing a New Years kiss, to friends embracing and wishing each other “Happy New Year!”, to people taking more drugs. Everyone had their own way of ringing in the New Year, but the fact that that a 10,000+ person crowd shared this once-in-a-lifetime moment together is incredibly special. Shortly after, ATB took the stage and the girl next to me looked like she was about to jump out of her skin. Excitedly, she told me she’d been waiting since she was 13 to see the legendary trance producer. As that is not my style of music, we headed to the other stage to catch the end of Mimosa‘s set, which led into the highlight of the night: Zeds Dead.

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While Mimosa played an incredibly deep future bass set that many in the crowd found difficult to dance to, Zeds Dead came out with guns blazing and brought the energy level higher than it was all night. Their hour-and-a-half set saw everything from heavy dubstep to electro house to crazy trap. You would have been hard pressed to find a single person in the crowd that wasn’t having the time of their life. I found it incredibly interesting when Zeds Dead played their Gimme Shelter” remix, as everyone was singing along to the Rolling Stones. Since I may never have the chance to see the Stones live, witnessing a whole crowd sing along may be the closest I will get. It really made me reflect on the music scene that has evolved in the past few years.

As always, their “Undah Yuh Skirt” remix had the crowd going out of control. But the true highlight of the night was a “Bandz a Make Her Dance” remix that highlighted Juicy J’s now famous “you say no to ratchet pussy, Juicy J can’t!” line before the drop. As I left the venue, all I could hear were people talking about how that song was the best part of their night. I have no idea what the music of 2013 is going to sound like, but I am sure that Zeds Dead are going to be a heavy influence on it. I would bet money that they will be on top of the music scene.

About Amelia Waters